Service Dog: Really?

Service dog: Really?

We’ve had a lot of discussion of late about Americans with Disabilities Act issues and the importance of providing full access to all people into Woodstock restaurants and businesses. The ADA law states that people may bring their trained service dogs into businesses and restaurants to help them with specific issues.  Generally speaking, ADA does not require these folks with dogs to have to “justify” their bringing the dog along, although updates to the law do allow business owners to ask a specific question as to what “service” or “assistance” the dog may be providing.

Now, we are aware of a so-called Woodstock citizen who is abusing this privilege accorded to those who need help.  This man, so full of his own entitlement — and with no known disabilities or handicaps — is trotting his young female Doberman pinscher around town in a well-labelled “service dog” vest.

We have seen this man with the dog jumping up and down inches away from a coffee shop counter, while he smiles away as if all is right with the world. At the same time, any number of more aware and more respectful dog owners have appropriately left their dogs in the car (with the windows down) or have tied up their dogs outside in an appropriate out-of-the-way area.  Woodstock Early Bird herself,  an owner of a  dog,  does NOT assume everyone wishes to deal with a canine and does not assume her dog is always welcome — there are many reasons for other visitors and clients to want to avoid dogs — health issues, anxiety and fear issues, general distaste for animals.

But, no, this man, flaunts ADA access law and respectability, Vermont food service law and business owners with his faux service dog.   He has said “point blank”  to two Woodstock Early Bird sources that he bought the dog’s “SERVICE” vest on the internet specifically so he could take his PET dog with him everywhere. He did not buy the vest and adorn his PET with this vest because he needs ADA access.

While some business owners may be “dog-friendly” and make clear that all our PETS are welcome (and we appreciate that!) , food service businesses in particular have to stick to health code. Why would this person want to jeopardize a food service establishment  that he ostensibly wishes to support by having his dog falsely “impersonate” a service animal?

Dude, what you are doing is SO UNCOOL!

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by L.H. Russell on June 8, 2012 at 12:03

    There are various stages of “in-training,” whether it be medical professionals, real estate brokers, or service animals. Calling a dog a “service animal” to get around health requirements is not condoned by law or disability professionals; and establishment owners have every right to deny access if the dog is not trained to perform a specific task which would be necessary in that environment. Buying a first-aid kit doesn’t entitle someone to administer narcotics!


  2. Posted by William Boardman on June 8, 2012 at 12:07

    Maybe a picture would help….


  3. Posted by Keri on June 8, 2012 at 13:28

    Perhaps a photo of this happening might have some use in curbing behavior.


  4. Posted by Cindy Towne on June 8, 2012 at 19:23

    Saw this guy in Mac’s market.


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